The Capitals checked another contract off their rather lengthy list of restricted free agents on Tuesday when they came to terms with winger Andre Burakovsky on a two-year contract extension worth a total of $6 million. The deal carries an annual salary cap hit of $3 million.
Burakovsky will receive a $500,000 signing bonus on July 15, 2017. His salary for the 2017-18 season will be $2.25 and he will be paid $3.25 for ’18-19.
The 22-year-old Burakovsky is expected to move into Washington’s top six forward group this season. He averaged 11:46 a night at even strength last season, seventh among Washington forwards and less than the recently departed Marcus Johansson (14:08) and Justin Williams (13:01). In the wake of those top six departures, Burakovsky is likely to benefit from a larger role and more ice time at even strength as well as on the power play.
Burakovsky carries 196 games worth of NHL experience into the 2017-18 season, his fourth in the league. He has totaled 38 goals and 95 points, adding six goals and 10 points in 36 playoff games.
Tuesday’s signing leaves only goaltender Phillip Grubauer and forwards Travis Boyd and Liam O'Brien on the Caps’ list of remaining restricted free agents. Assuming an opening night roster with 13 forwards, seven defensemen and a pair of goaltenders, and assuming as many as four forward slots could go to rookies or minimum wage ($650,000) players, the Caps now have just under $3 million of cap space with which to sign Grubauer and add one more defenseman, either from inside the system or via other means (all this via the ever-handy capfriendly.com).